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Cosmetic Skin Lightening: Contextualizing Biomedical and Ethical Issues.

The skin lightening (SL) industry has a global reach and is projected to continue to grow over the coming decade. While SL treatments may be safely prescribed for treatment of some dermatologic conditions, many over-the-counter SL products contain ingredients that can cause harm to the skin and other organ systems. Given a lack of transparent information to patients and the historical colorist foundation that contextualizes a component of the cosmetic SL industry, dermatologists need to navigate biomedical and ethical concerns when explaining SL products to patients. This commentary briefly outlines the medical ethical issues surrounding this topic and describes avenues by which dermatologists may provide informed patient care that best supports beneficence, justice, autonomy, and nonmaleficence.

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